Mercedes Benz, SLC builds on SLK sporting tradition

THE rather confusing badging policy of German premium car manufacturer Mercedes-Benz with some of their models has just undergone another development with the latest SLK roadster suddenly becoming the SLC following a facelift writes Bryan Longworth.

Mercedes say that 20 years on from the birth of its segment the relaunched SLK has become the SLC to acknowledge the traditionally close relationship with the C-Class from which most of the roadster’s technology is derived.

For the record the official meaning of the SLK badging was Sportlich (sporty), Leight (light), Kompakt (compact) so the C instead of the K now means C as in C-Class which is part of the company’s re-badging process that will hopefully make it easier to understand.

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There are new additions to the model range which include the sporty top SLC the AMG SLC 43 and the entry level SLC 180 with exterior changes including the standard-fit diamond radiator grille and the LED intelligent light system that is an optional extra.

The new rear drive SLC which starts at £30,495 has an impressive heritage to live up to for the predecessor SLK which was launched in 1996 won fans around the world and achieved sales of 670,000 units becoming a much sought after sporting Merc.

There are five models in the new range with four four cylinder power units (three petrol and one diesel) ranging from 1.6-litre to 2.2-litres and a six cylinder 3.0-litre V6 with six speed manual and nine speed automatic transmissions.

Certain models are fitted with the dynamic select system which can select five driving modes at the touch of a button and the SLC43 features an AMG Sport exhaust system as standard using the two adjustable exhaust flaps to adapt the sound to the mode selected which adds to driver enjoyment of this car.

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A significant feature of the SLC is the vario-roof which combines open top driving pleasure with uncompromised comfort in poor weather and operating the electrohydraulic roof is now even more straightforward.

If when opening or closing the roof the vehicle has to move off due to traffic conditions the process which was started when at a standstill can be continued up to a speed of around 30mph.

A feature that continues to be unique to the SLC is the panoramic vario roof with magic sky control whereby the glass roof is lightened or darkened at the touch of a button which means it provides an open air feeling at any time but when required gives welcome shade under a hot sun.

Ola Kallenius a top Mercedes official said 20 years ago the company redefined the roadster with its innovative vario roof and the renamed compact roadster remained an ideal combination of passion and rational commonsense appealing to both the heart and mind.

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This aptly sums up the latest model with its new name and when it appears in dealer showrooms in April there is little doubt it will continue to have big appeal to those wanting a prestigeous premier sporting car with that famous three pointed star on the re-styled grille.

Verdict: SLC builds on SLK sporting tradition.

Fact File

Model: Mercedes SLC roadster.

Engines: Four petrol and a diesel.

Transmissions: Six speed manual nine speed automatic.

Drive: Rear wheel.

Price: From: £30,495.

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